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Kidnapped aid workers freed in Darfur

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Four aid workers - an Italian doctor, a Canadian nurse, a French administrator and a Sudanese staffer - were freed by kidnappers in North Darfur, according to Sudanese official on Saturday.

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AFP - Gunmen in the western Sudanese region of Darfur have freed four staff, three of them foreigners, working for the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), a Sudanese official said on Saturday.

"I can confirm they were released," foreign ministry director of protocol Ali Yusef told AFP.

The workers -- an Italian doctor, a Canadian nurse, French administrator and a Sudanese staffer -- were kidnapped on Wednesday in Saraf Umra, in North Darfur.

According to a source close to the dealings with the kidnappers, the freed aid workers have reached the main Darfur city of El-Fasher.

"They will be taken to Khartoum later in the day or on Sunday," Yusef said.

The Italian foreign ministry said in a statement that it was checking an earlier announcement that the hostages had been released.

MSF's Belgian chapter -- which employed the four -- would not immediately confirm they had been released.

Earlier on Saturday, Sudanese foreign ministry official Ali Sadiq said the hostages had not yet been freed but he "hoped" they would be during the day.

MSF said on Friday it had received assurances from the Sudanese authorities that the aid workers had been released although it had not seen or had any direct contact with them.
  

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